Science, Flubber Slime, and Fun!

September 26, 2008

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Need a cool science and craft idea that is pretty simple but also has some great science instruction potential?  It only requires one special ingredient:  Borax, which can be found in the laundry section of most grocery stores as a whitening agent to add to the wash.

Flubber/Slime/Polymer Experiment

Bowl #1 – Mix thoroughly

  • 1 cup white glue
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • food coloring (opt.)

Bowl #2 – mix thoroughly

  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 t. Borax (20 Mule Team is one brand)

After mixing each bowl separately, mix them together.  It is amazingly cool as a polymer is formed.   Read about the science behind the reaction here

Stir with a spoon, or for the more adventurous, mix with your hands.  Don’t quit, the gluey slime will suddenly harden into a great cross between slime and silly putty.  Both kids and adults love playing with the stuff.  Just keep it away from fabrics and carpets, since it will slowly soak in and become very difficult to remove.  (This means I need to keep checking the seat of my 3-year-old who inevitably ends up with pieces in his lap that result in lovely dots of permanent rubber color stuck all over his pants.)

Make a couple of different colored batches for more fun.  Store in Ziploc baggies or plastic containers in the fridge for the longest life.  It will eventually go bad.

‘Make It a Lesson’ Ideas:

  • Learn about the states of matter: solid, liquid, gas
  • Practice color mixing with younger children:  what will 4 drops of blue and 1 drop of red make?  How about adding a drop of yellow?
  • Scientific method practice:  Discuss a hypothesis of what each child thinks will happen when you mix the two bowls, write them down, then discuss the actual result and write it down.
  • Why does it bounce:  Discuss the physics of elastic collisions & equal and opposite reactions.
  • Creativity:  Pick a subject and then see what everyone can make or have children guess what the others have made.  Examples:  design a person, a fruit, a shape (more complex shapes for older children), mystery thing, etc.  Use 20 questions to help figure out what the mystery things are.

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Posted under Science Curriculum

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